Faith to Forgive

by | Sep 25, 2014

– By Debbie Desmond

From my counseling chair I watch their faces which, like a TV screen, displays the evidence of the huge battle raging within. Shattered loss and deep cutting pain cry out for vengeance. No peace is found as they look over the ruin and wreckage of what is left in their hearts. The loss and pain scattered through the ruins in which they live everyday are tagged with a name and a face. Their mind desperately searching for a solution sees the only answer, “You did this, and you must pay!” But no payment has arrived and the heart continues, like a starved, scared child, begging for relief and freedom from the hell it is living. Deep within though there is a candle flickering, a path to hope. Its light is a call to let go of every debt. The battle rages while their will is torn between holding on to the debt evidence and letting go and journeying into the light.

The bible clearly talks about forgiving someone as canceling a debt, Matthew 6:12:
“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

When someone has been wronged, one of the most common hurt emotion experienced is loss – a stolen childhood, peace, a friend, value, reputation, innocence, happiness, money, etc. It is only natural for the soul to seek restoration in restitution. But unfortunately it’s not always offered by the debtor no matter the appeal. It is at these times, when facing the pain of huge loss, when it is most difficult to forgive – cancel the debt owed. One thing that I have witnessed so many times when counselling people over the years is that it is so much easier for the person to let go and forgive another if they place their faith in God for their restoration rather than the offending person.

You arrive at a function and on entry you have your glass sufficiently filled with your desired drink of choice. It is not long thereafter and someone comes and takes a couple of gulps of your drink. When you grab the glass to save your refreshment, you find only a few very small drops left in it. You now wonder how you are going to make it through the day without this refreshment and immediately you feel it is only right for the offening person to make some amends by refilling your glass. Why should you have to suffer the loss and face thirst the rest of the day because of his misbehavior? The offender makes all kinds of excuses and refuses any restitution for fear of depleting his supply. Your emotions heighten and your thirst intensifies together with a need for vengeance. Things are starting to look like they may get ugly. Just then a man comes up to you and informs you that the organiser of the banquet invites you to come and refill your glass. Could this be true? If you head off to the organizer of the banquet, your offender might make off and get lost in the crowd leaving his debt unpaid and your thirst raging. The man looks trust worthy and convincing and so you go off with him to the organiser who lets you quench your thirst and graciously fills your cup to overflowing. Now letting go and canceling our offender’s debt is so much easier. And it seems even that the best drinks were indeed left for last here too, since this drink in your hand now tastes better than your first.

When you feel someone is in your debt and owes you something, canceling their debt is so much easier if you can see with the eyes of faith how God is able and willing to fill up your loss to even more than you had before if you would but ask and trust Him. In this particular blog I am not going to go into how living with unforgiveness is far more damaging for the the person holding onto it than the offender. There are many articles and exhortations out there for those who need more encouragement on why to let go of their burden of unforgiveness. But I do want to emphasize that looking to God in moments of loss, disappointment and hurt, brings grace to do the best thing and results in freedom and joy.

I have often looked at my many mistakes and failings as a parent and feared their outcome and loss in my children’s lives. Although I am doing my best juggling myself between four children, there have been moments when I have been haunted by my limitations and less than perfect parenting. But then I look to God’s faithfulness in my life and I take great courage. My parents had short coming too and I have felt the impact of some of them on my life. But when I took them to the Lord, He so faithfully took those failings produced in human weakness and, when presented to Him, brought His unlimitedness into it. Now those very areas where I struggled are areas of great strength because I leant into Him there and found a strength and capacity that is greater than I could ever have on my own. I often meditate on the scripture, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” and think how true it is because He can take our failures and weakness, even what our enemy uses against us, and make it into a strength if we put our trust in Him. My hope is that my children will find His grace that turn my weaknesses and failings into strength for them.

Yes, God did say that He works all things for the good of those who love Him, and I believe it. So whether because of someone’s weaknesses or deliberate actions as in Joseph case, you find your life in ruins or loss, put your hope and faith in Him. Through any loss and disappointment, know that He is ultimately in control and if you trust Him, you too will forgive and say like Joseph, “Don’t be afraid…You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good”.

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